reprinted with permission from chictoday
So Many Hats, Only One Head…
Posted on September 2nd, 2008 by Brina
Spending a pleasant Saturday drinking detox tea and
reading the super Susie Bubble, I was prompted by a post entitled
‘I’m not looking at the hats’ to write about
why I am always looking at the hats. And wearing them.
We may have had no summer to speak
of in this town. However, not only since February, when the catwalk
was adorned with headgear of every kind, but from when I was old
enough to reach a hatstand on my tiptoes, I have been slowly stocking
up and wishing for the leaves to drop so that it’s that
hat time again…
‘If a woman rebels against
wearing high-heeled shoes, she should take care to do so in a
very smart hat’. George Bernard Shaw
Whilst I appreciate that even a simply designed
hat can seem to demand an elusively particular tilt, tone and
attitude; wearing the right hat well can work wonders. As Mr Lagerfeld
showed this season, as chic as an ensemble may be (and nobody
ensembles as chicly as Chanel), nothing can beat a beautifully
bejewelled beret to add that special something.
If you do wear a hat (and this winter you really
should – at least whilst Marc Jacobs is still stocking those
enticing tri-corner pieces), it can be the first thing that is
noticed about you. Apparently it takes someone just three seconds
to evaluate you based on your body language, mannerisms and most
importantly, your appearance. So how do you choose a hat that
you really like and that tells people you require far more than
three seconds of their opinion-making time to really get across
your complex, yet fascinating, personality?
Ian Bennett is a UK milliner- one of my most
favourite - who creates wonderful and wearable designs from his
shop in London’s Oxo Tower. He insists that there is no
special method to finding a hat that fits your head and your heart.
It all comes down to persistence;
“People will go to a store and not think
twice about trying on twenty jackets or ten pairs of jeans to
find the best style and fit. Yet when it comes to hats, most people
say ‘Ooh, they don’t suit me’. They try just
one on and say ‘See?’. But hats can and do suit everybody,
it’s just about allocating the same time and effort in the
search for the right hat as you do for the rest of your wardrobe”.
It is worth investing the time, as a hat can
be confidence-inspiring, attention grabbing and be the difference
between being dressed or being dressed up. A great hat can make
a good day great. It’s an object of interest, which encourages
people to talk to you (which I always find extremely entertaining
- the weirder the better, unless I’m in a particularly murderous
mood), kind of like the way pushing a baby around will always
invite random conversations. But hats are far more preferable
bundles of joy. They are indispensable in their magical ability
to hide as much as they can show. A woman wearing Galliano’s
flower-basket creation or McQueen’s Isabella Blow-inspired
butterfly fascinator, for example, is extremely unlikely to be
an uninteresting wallflower. Or be getting the night-bus home.
And a woman with a wide-brimmed slouch hat will be able to flirt
far more effectively, by hiding what she wishes at her whim.
One of the earliest known hats is a simple skull-cap
which was given to freed slaves in Greece and Rome. It symbolised
their new status, and became known as the ‘liberty cap’.
I dreamily like to think that this is what the designers had in
mind when they revealed their humble, humourous or haute-couture
hat designs this season. Gareth Pugh, for instance, presented
some never-wearable warrior helmets at his A/W show, but they
were wonderful in providing the freedom to bring his fantasy world
to life. Vivienne Westwood used turbans and eye-covering boleros
as much as she employed protesting t-shirts and political placards
to get her message across the catwalk. Donna Karan delivered practical
Panamas and Hermes did cosy, boyish beanies. With each of these
hats you can be who you want to be. As a wise woman once said
‘I have 12 hats, and each one represents a different personality.
Why be just yourself?’ Exactly. It’s an excuse for
stylish schizophrenia. I’ll take my hat off (for a second)